11 Things That Should Never Be on Your Resume After 10 Years in the Field, According to Experts

updated Jun 2, 2021
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A well-written resume should actually do more than just lay out your work history. “A resume should clearly articulate why you are the perfect fit for a position,” says certified professional resume writer and online profile expert Alana Henry of The Writique. “It should be targeted to the role and the industry, and provide relevant information that helps the reader ascertain your value.”

No surprise then that Henry says a resume filled with extraneous and obsolete information will likely wind up at the bottom of the pile and could therefore hurt your chances of landing a job. “If you have outdated or irrelevant info on your resume, it makes it easier for the computer screening software to move you to the bottom of the list, and makes it harder for the human reader to identify your unique value,” she explains.

From certain internships to objective statements and more, here are 11 things that experts say should never be on your resume after 10 years. 

1. Grade Point Averages (GPAs)

Unless you’re a recent college grad or applying to a graduate school program or teaching position, Patricia Figueroa of The Career Glow Up says there’s no need to disclose your high school or college grade point average on your resume. “Instead of mentioning your GPA, include numbers and percentages that highlight your unique skills, such as key performance indicators, costs saved, and other metrics,” she says. 

If you graduated with distinction, as in magna or summa cum laude, Henry says you can include it on your resume as long as you have the space for it. “However, if you’re limited on space and you’re applying to a position for which that distinguished degree is not particularly relevant, it might be worth eliminating,” she says.

2. Really Old and/or Unrelated Jobs

As a rule of thumb, Henry says most resume writers will advise you to remove any past experience from your resume that’s older than 15 years. “However, since a resume should be targeted in a way that demonstrates that you are the best candidate, if you have an old job that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for, you may want to include it,” she says.

3. Most Internships 

While some internships may appear super impressive on a resume early on in your career, Henry says that after a certain amount of time, including them can be counterproductive. “Internships are usually completed during college, so while it may look great on the resume of a recent grad, it might not make sense for someone with years and years of professional experience under their belt,” she explains. 

Henry does add an important caveat: “However, if there are specific skills or areas of expertise that you gleaned from an internship that will bolster your professional brand or help demonstrate why you’re the right fit for the position, then you should mention it on your resume.” For example, if you held an extra prestigious internship in the field in which you’re applying, you can keep it on the page.

4. Objective Statements

It’s crucial to make a strong first impression in the top half of your resume, and if yours features an old-fashioned objective statement right from the get-go, career coach Kenitra “Keni” Dominguez says it can deter a recruiter or hiring manager from reading the rest. “Ditch the generic statement, and instead create a summary profile that makes a great impression and can serve as an elevator pitch to grab the recruiter or hiring manager’s attention,” she advises. “Keep it short, clear, and concise — it can be three to five short sentences that highlight your work, skills, qualifications, and the industries you’ve been exposed to throughout your career.”

5. Out-of-Date Certifications

No matter how impressive certain certifications may be, Henry says they have no place on a resume if they aren’t current. “If you have not re-certified and you have no plans to re-certify, outdated certifications should not be mentioned on a resume,” she explains. “If you feel that certain certifications are absolutely necessary to include, you can specify that they are not current, but that you have plans to re-certify.”

Credit: Julia Steele

6. Educational Accomplishments

While it’s common for recent high school and college grads with limited work experience to highlight educational awards and achievements on their resume, Dominquez says you should remove them after five or 10 years in the workforce. “Once you have a few years of experience under your belt, free up space on your resume by replacing your educational accomplishments with experiences that show your career growth,” she says. 

7. Inapplicable Links

Whether it’s a link to a LinkedIn profile you haven’t updated in forever or one to your personal Facebook account, Dominguez says that superfluous URLs are an absolute no-go on a resume. “Your resume should reflect your professional brand, and out-of-date email addresses and irrelevant social media links can leave a bad impression,” she explains. “Make sure you’re listing your most current email and that your LinkedIn profile mirrors the work experience reflected on your resume.”

8. Photos

Not only can photos look unprofessional on a resume, Stephanie Alston, founder of freelance staffing agency Black Girl Group, says headshots in particular can lead to discriminatory bias.I have seen a growing trend of candidates putting their photos on their resume, and I highly discourage this, as it makes you more susceptible to racial, gender, or age discrimination,” she explains.

9. Short Stints

Unless you gleaned a noteworthy skill from a brief side hustle (i.e. one that lasted six months or less), Henry says that you shouldn’t include short-term gigs, especially ones from more than five years ago, on your resume. “Side hustles for extra cash, like DoorDash during COVID, that aren’t relevant to your overall career or the specific job you’re seeking don’t need to take up valuable space on your resume,” she explains. 

If you lost employment during the pandemic and are worried about gaps in your work history, Henry recommends listing your professional experience by year (as in 2019, 2020, and 2021) instead of a month-to-year format (like March 2020). “This helps disguise short gaps in your resume without having to include irrelevant gigs,” she explains.

10. Foreign Languages You Are No Longer Proficient In

Just because you studied a second language 10 years ago doesn’t mean you’re still fluent in it today. “A lot of folks minored in a language in college or studied one in high school that they may no longer be proficient in,” says Henry. “If you couldn’t carry a professional conversation with someone in that language, it probably shouldn’t be included on your resume.” 

11. References

References don’t ever belong on a resume, according to Dominguez. “You can always provide them upon request at a later stage of the interview process,” she says. “Until then, save valuable space on your resume.”